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Inspirational leadership is needed

Health and Safety ConsultantsThe COVID-19 pandemic is creating economic uncertainty and anxiety, which means distractions in the workforce are at an all-time high.

Safety leaders understand that when distractions are high, accidents and near misses increase. People are finding it difficult to focus because they have so much on their minds: their health and safety, the health and safety of loved ones, home-schooling, school holidays whether or not they can pay their bills, what the world will look like when this period of physical distancing subsides, and so much more.

It’s times like these when inspirational leadership is needed most.

Inspirational leadership is a transformational leadership style that is critical when people are worried, work is tenuous, staff are stressed and worried, mental health is even higher than normal and business is unstable. They are all connected—when one falls, the others can go down too. Inspirational leadership is therefore needed most during economic downturns, uncertainties in world affairs, or from sudden and unexpected natural disasters like a tornado or earthquake, or acts of terrorism.

At its core, inspirational leadership is the ability to articulate an idea or an action to win over people so they share the same idea or action. Optimism, enthusiasm, fellowship—these are all direct results when people are inspired. Inspirational leadership builds relationships with others and minimises the distractions that lead to the higher level of exposure.

But in order to inspire others, the leader needs to be inspired. They need to believe in the vision they want to share. In this pandemic, experts and top government officials need to believe a vaccine is possible, the curve can be flattened, and that society will pick up where it left off, because if they don’t, the millions of people who hang on those words won’t either.

For that reason alone, all eyes are on leadership during a crisis. People are looking for physical signs and verbal cues that the situation is under control. In other words, for leaders, now is not the time to be negative. They need to be in front of the situation and show others they have a plan to regain stability within their operation despite the instability outside.

Here are a few ideas for you to follow:

1 – Get inspired

In order to inspire others, leaders need to determine what “good” looks like. You can share that inspiration with others.

When I work with clients I try to lead by establishing a genuine relationship. It is possible to be inspired by everyday interactions with people and this improves the trust and the work factors.

2 -Establish your vision

Where do you want things to end after this crisis? For example, one vision I find inspiring is the idea that we will get through this together and the “new normal” may be different, but in some ways, it could be better. That’s a vision others can get behind. I totally understand change is so hard for people. But you do want to prevent yourself from going down the road of only doom and gloom. Make sure the picture you paint is a good and honest one and comes from a real place within yourself.

I am a very positive person so I always look on the glass half full rather than empty!!

3 – Set the example

You are the one that workers will use to gauge whether things look good or if you don’t believe things will get better. Look at what you do or don’t do and what you say or don’t say. If you don’t invest the time and energy into showing you care, you’re just setting the stage for other people to feel rejected.

Think about it as a performance that will have a lasting effect, positive or negative. You have to realize that when you’re on that stage, it’s not just about you—it’s about everyone. And if you’re an inspirational leader you will recognise that how you respond will have a powerful impact on the organisation. In 1 of my clients staff room there is a sign as you leave that says “Smile your going on stage” – love this.

4 – Interact with your clients

Physical distancing is how we are living right now. We’re not bumping into each other in the hallway or conducting major business around a conference room table. Yet you need to interact with your team/friends/colleagues. How can you do this? Set up Zoom or similar technology calls to talk with one another, or just use the phone. Leadership is an interactive sport, so you have to interact. When under stress, some people close in. But now is the time you need to reach out and check on them, even if it is to see what Netflix they have been binge watching!

5 – Practice inspiration every day

You don’t need to wait for that weekly/ monthly meeting to cheer someone up. You can inspire others on every phone call you’re on or with every daily interaction. Also, remember: Your clients/staff are not expecting you to give a speech that matches the great leaders of our day. You just need to show people you need them to move forward.

6 – Inspirational leaders build credibility with their workers

At the heart of inspirational leadership is sharing your vision, helping others grow, serving as a mentor, and projecting optimism. If you do those things well, you’re going to build trust with your people that will pay off in increased safety and well-being.

So how do you start? Think about what inspired you recently. How can you use those actions or statements with those around you. Communicate that everyone will get through this pandemic together and show them that you really believe what you say.

Recognize that you need to be on your game every time you interact with your people. Make sure you check in with them, encourage them and listen. They need you now more than ever. And you need them too.

Please call Chestnut Associates on 07770 302504 for any further information.